ePac expands global ambitions

Jo Francis
Wednesday, August 17, 2022

ePac Flexible Packaging is planning a major worldwide expansion of its operations that will include a second site in the UK.

ePac: minimum run length is below 1,000
ePac: minimum run length is below 1,000

The US-headquartered group said that it planned to “transition to a global enterprise” over the next 18 months. 

CEO Jack Knott commented: “To manage our growth and operations our company is transitioning from ePac Holdings, to ePac Global with an infrastructure to optimise market knowledge and growth in each country we are in.”

This includes multiple new sites in Europe, with an additional facility in the UK located in the Leeds region.  

Its existing UK operation is in Silverstone. It had previously intended to open a second UK facility in 2020, but those plans were delayed by the pandemic.

ePac is also adding second sites in France and Poland, while a new operation in Austria is set to open in Q4. Further sites to serve the Netherlands and Scandinavia are also in the works. 

Johnny Hobeika, managing director of ePac Europe, told Printweek that the firm expected to finalise the new northern location “in the next month or so”, for start-up in Q4. 

“We are ramping up as usual. With the pandemic behind us, we still have very strong sales even in the current economic climate,” he explained.

“We need to keep up with, or step ahead on capacity to keep our customers satisfied with our ten day deliveries SLA.”

The Silverstone site runs five days, 20 hours a day on two shifts, with the option to flex capacity up with extra weekend shifts depending on customer requirements.

The second UK site will be around 2,420sqm in size, and like ePac’s other facilities will be a 100% digital operation, equipped with a HP Indigo 20000 flexible packaging press, and with space for two. 

Hobeika said the new site would also have a combination laminator from Nordmeccanica to allow the production of more complex packs. 

“It’s a slightly more complex laminator so we can laminate a triplex or add a coating or spot embellishment. It has two extra stations,” he explained.

ePac specialises in the production of short- and medium-run flexible packaging such as lay-flat pouches and stand-up pouches, for markets including food, supplements and health and beauty. 

Hobeika said the northern operation would eventually employ around 35 staff, with a handful of people already recruited. 

He said the UK business was likely to break £10m turnover this year. 

“We are having a good growth year and our number of customers is increasing – we have 500-600 customers now. 

“We are still focused on SME customers, that’s our core, but we can also help bigger customers with specific needs such as fast turnarounds and different features.”

He said minimum run lengths were now “below 1,000” while the firm’s average order size had increased due to some of the work it is handling for larger brands.

“We are investing in a global resource team, not just a site,” Hobeika added. 

“We are expanding our resource pool and that also includes highly-skilled people.”

ePac opened its first site in the US in 2016, and this has since grown to 25 locations in the US, Canada, Europe and Africa. Last year packaging giant Amcor announced it would invest around $10m-$15m in ePac, and took a minority stake in the business. 

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